Cavaliers stop Bucks 114-106, move to within 1 game of the top spot in East    
            BY TIM SHIRER
(CLEVELAND, OH) - Wednesday night at Rocket Mortgage Field House the Cleveland Cavaliers (21-11, 16-2 at home) faced the Eastern Conference leading Milwaukee Bucks (22-8, 8-5 on the road) definitely their toughest opponent at home this season. The Cavs were up for the Challenge after losing the first two games this season to the Bucks in Milwaukee the Cavs turned it around defeating the leaders in the East 114-106 sending the Bucks into a first-place tie in the East with Boston and the Cavs are now just one game out of the top spot.

After the Bucks took an early 4-0 lead :17 into the game. The Bucks Grayson Allen known throughout college and the NBA for his dirty play made a complete fool of himself missing an easy dunk and then an easy layup. The Cavs scored the next five points taking a 5-4 lead with 9:18 left in the quarter when Evan Mobley dropped in a layup. Mobley however had to go to the bench soon after with 9:11 left when he picked up his second personal foul. The game would go back and forth until the Cavs took the lead on a Darius Garland 3 point pull up jumper with 8:14 left and built the lead from there to eight points at 24-16 after two consecutive 3 point baskets from Kevin Love with 4:39 left in the first quarter. They were not done building as the lead was 11 with 2:53 left after Garland converted a long range three to put the Cavs on top 27-16. The positive energy and momentum continued for the Cavs throughout the rest of the first period. By the time the buzzer for the first 12 minutes sounded the Cavs had expanded their lead to 35-20. Giannis Antetokounmpo led all scorers with 12. Garland led the Cavs with eight points. Giannis went to the foul line seven times in the first quarter but only put four in the hoop. The Cavs outrebounded the Bucks 12-11.

Mobley finally returned to them game to start the second period. Cleveland scored the first six points of the second quarter taking a 41-20 lead with 11:09 left when Caris LeVert broke away after the Bucks turned the ball over for an easy layup. Milwaukee put a run together over the next three and a half minutes to cut the Cavs lead to 43-28 with 7:20 remaining after Brook Lopez drained a three from the top of the arc. Mobley once again had to go to the bench as he drew his third foul with 5:11 left and the Bucks took advantage cutting the lead to 47-38 with 4:11 left after a layup by Bobby Portis, Jr. Cavs coach JB Bickerstaff immediately called a timeout to calm his troops. The Cavs withstood the Bucks run, play good defense after the timeout and rebuilt the lead to 60-42 at the end of the first half. Honestly the game was only in doubt at that point because of the usual ticky tack fouls called that put Antetokounmpo at the line 11 times in the first half, he converted only seven of them into points. Predictably he led all scorers with 21 first half points. The Cavs had three players in double figures led by Garlands 12. Both Jarrett Allen and Mitchell tallied 10 apiece. The Bucks won the battle of the boards in the second quarter 14-10 to take a 25-22 lead in the category going into the break. A huge disperity to the Cavs advantage was points in the paint even without Mobley for most of the half the Cavs out did the Bucks inside 34-20.

The Cavs came out fast and scored the first six points of the second half capped off by three free throws by Mitchell with 10:59 left in the third the Cavs led 66-42. The Bucks cut the lead to 18 after Giannis once again got to line making both the Cavs led 72-54 with 8:19 left in the quarter. The Bucks continued to tread water even slipping farther under in spite of their best efforts as the Cavs extended the lead 83-61 with 4:22 remaining in the third when Love hit a three from the corner by the Cavs bench. With 4:17 remaining the officials called a foul by the basket on Love claiming that he fouled Giannis. Bickerstaff challenged the ruling and after a long review the call was overturned, and Giannis was charged with his third foul and no foul on Love. Then with two minutes remaining in the period with Allen going up for a shot in the paint Giannis was charged with his fourth foul of the game. Milwaukee then took a timeout to challenge the call. The challenge was not successful as the officials were adamant in the ruling taking Giannis to task for the foul in the explanation to the crowd and TV audience. After Allen converted on of the two free throws to give the Cavs an 88-69 lead Osman stole the ball from Giannis on the next Bucks possession further unnerving the big man. Osman was fouled but could not convert either free throw. As the quarter ended the Bucks cut the lead to 93-77 on a three point by Jrue Holiday as time expired. Giannis led all scorers with 29 thru three quarters. Mitchell led the Cavs with 25.

The Bucks cut the Cavs lead to 93-81 with 11:05 left when Giannis blocked a shot and took it the length of the court for a dunk. Just 1:08 later the Bucks cut the lead to 95-84 when Jevon Carter hit a fast break 3 pointer. Bickerstaff had seen enough and called a timeout with 9:58 remaining in the contest. The Cavs extended the lead back to 13 points at 98-85 with 8:33 remaining when Mobley hit one of two free throws. Brook Lopez after committing an offensive foul was upset at the call then Mobley was called for his fourth foul, Lopez must have said something to the official because he was accessed a technical foul and Mitchell converted the free throw to extend the Cavs lead to 99-85 with 8:04 left. The Bucks cut the lead to 10 points at 109-104 on a 3-point shot by Pat Connaughton with 2:21 remaining. Garland then extended the lead to 111-104 with after hitting a fadeaway jumper with 1:52 remaining. After Mitchell wrestled Grayson Allen for a jump ball the Cavs regained possession and Garland was fouled. He converted 1 of 2 to give the Cavs a 112-104 lead with 1:16 left in regulation. Another jump ball was called with :21 left and the Cavs up 112-106, the Cavs won got the jump ball in the back court, Mitchell brought the ball up the court and was fouled as he sealed the win for Cavs hitting both free throws and giving the Cavs a 114-106 lead with just :11.6 left on the game clock. The Cavs stifled the Bucks last attempt at a basket running the clock out for the win.

Antetokounmpo led all scorers with 45 points in the losing effort. Mitchell led the Cavs with 36. Garland had 23 big points and Allen also had 19 for the Cavs. Love was huge off the bunch playing 29 big minutes when Mobley got in foul trouble. Love fell one board (9) and one point (9) short of a double in the game off the bench. The Cavs outscored the Bucks in the paint 54-46 which was a huge contribution in the win. Both benches scored 21 points. Turnovers were also a big factor as the Bucks turned the ball over 23 times resulting in 22 Cavs points. Meanwhile the Cavs only turned it over 10 resulting in 12 Bucks points.

The Cavs will be in action next on Friday night against the Toronto Raptors at RMFH at 7:30 pm. The Raptors hold the season series edge 2-0, both games were in Toronto. The Cavs hold the all-time series lead 53-49 and are 30-20 all-time at RMFH against the Raptors.. 
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​POSTED 12/21/2022 21:57
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